“Remove the mental candy from your environment.”
—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer
Image from Unsplash by Amit Lahav
When was the last time you visited the dentist? If you are like many, the idea of opening your mouth for an hour and having someone poking around in there seems foolhardy.
I’ve been even more diligent this past year in brushing and flossing, and have avoided popcorn with its frequent rock-hard kernels that are often the source of a dental emergency.
A few of us may even be cutting back on sweets but my guess is that with the need for comfort this year, both actual sweets and a few extra servings of mental candy may have caused some decay.
What sources of mental candy are most readily available in your environment? How can you avoid their enticing and addictive qualities by putting them out of reach or eliminating some completely?
“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”
—Hillaire Belloc, 20th Century British-French writer and historian
Image from Unsplash by Anastasia Petrova
To what degree are you a wanderer or a traveler? Since most of us are not using trains, planes, or automobiles as often as usual, consider taking a look at your media and social media journeys.
How often do you find yourself surfing the web and giving your remote a workout to fill the time and distract you from boredom or the hard realities we are all facing in this pandemic?
Alternatively, how are you planning your days with intention and focus, to travel paths toward specific destinations and goals?
Where and how would more traveling and less wandering through your days lead to a more fulfilling life?
What one specific action will you take today to begin this journey?
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is easy to miss.”
—Boris Pasternak, 20th Century Russian poet & novelist
Image from Unsplash by Rodion Kutsaev
I recently learned that our average level of digital engagement nearly tripled between 2007 to 2017.
Surprisingly, other aspects of our daily activities, such as sleeping, working, and commuting, have remained fairly stable.
We can all point to many positive aspects of our digital world, including increasing productivity, however more of us are now paying the price for this lack of digital well-being.
Mark Ostach, a Digital Well-Being Coach, suggests the following actions we can take to capture more of the “knocks on our doors” we may be missing:
- No digital gadgets at mealtime.
- Sleep device-free. Get a real alarm clock.
- Take a digital fast at least one hour each day.
- Make eye contact when talking.
- End your digital day one hour before bedtime.
- Go outside and get some fresh air.
“Starve Your Distractions. Feed Your Focus.”
You are what you eat.
In terms of today’s quote, I am not referring to kale, flax seeds, or salmon.
We are becoming an increasingly ADHD society, in which the “shiny object syndrome” is more prevalent than ever. Take a few moments right now for a careful look at the many things that seek your attention.
The payoff with the wide variety of distractions seems to be some form of pleasure, instant gratification, or an escape from life’s difficulties. Sometimes it’s for twenty seconds for a social media fix, or thirty minutes for a sitcom.
The cost for all of us is the lack or diminishment of our fullest potential on both the personal and professional fronts. Because everyone seems to be engaged in these activities, and we all want to fit in, we unfortunately accept this “dumbing down” of our focus as “normal.”
Consider using the More, Less, Start, Stop strategy today, to feed your focus and starve your distractions.
For those who wish to make this a habit, engage the support of others for at least the next month, so the benefits you desire will become sticky and sustainable.
“Unless you plan on eating it, please don’t bring your phone to our dinner table.”
Digital distraction is at epidemic levels. It is so out of hand that we now hear of multiple people committing suicide because they are unable to get their “digital fix.”
How and in what ways can and will you draw the line and establish boundaries that cannot be crossed, to prevent this heads-down world from infecting your life and the lives of those you love?
Please consider the dinner table as a place to begin and then expand further to regain the peace and sanity you seek.
“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
-Will Rogers, 19th/20th Century American Cowboy, Vaudevillian, and Humorist
Image from denvertent.com
Imagine you are planning to take a hike, climb a hill, or even scale a mountain. Your goal is to go as far as you can and see all the beauty along the way. Unfortunately, you have chosen to carry a very heavy backpack filled with too many weighty issues from your past.
What can you do to lighten your load and carry fewer yesterdays, in order to make the best out of each and every day ahead?
“I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.”
Spring is here, and the people I speak with can’t wait for warmer weather, longer hours of daylight, and the beauty Mother Nature provides.
When my neighbors begin to emerge from their homes, I see them out walking or participating in some other physical activity, or, relative to today’s quote, jumping into lawn care and maintenance.
I’ve heard some of them compare their lawns to others—sometimes favorably, others not. This characteristic of comparison can be a source of upsets, dissatisfaction, and frustration.
Where in your personal or professional life are you paying too much attention to other people’s grass? How would tending to the fertilization and care of your own abilities, projects, and priorities reward you with the results and satisfaction you desire?
“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.”
-John Burroughs, American naturalist and nature essayist
In the early years of coaching there was a man named Thomas J. Leonard, whom many consider a primary catalyst for the profession we know today.
Among his prolific writings, as he developed the curriculum for Coach University, was a simple exercise to improve one’s life by reducing or eliminating the small things that often drain our energy and satisfaction. He called these little things that sap our lives, “tolerations.”
Generate a list of little and not so little things in your world that diminish your life in even the smallest ways.
How can you reduce, eliminate, or, as John Burroughs suggests, rise above these things, to live a more fulfilling life?
Select at least one “toleration” and take some action today, and consider making this exercise an everyday practice to improve your life.
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save. They just stand there, shining.”
– Anne Lamott, novelist and non-fiction writer
St. Joseph, Michigan North Pier Lighthouse
As a coach, my business is a bit unusual in that I hold most of my coaching sessions in person, in my office. Instead of running all over town to meet with each individual client, I created a secure harbor for these coaching sessions, in a calm and confidential location, removed from the often hectic rushing around that comprises many people’s days.
Where are you currently running all over your personal and professional “island” looking for boats to save?
How could you let your own shining light act as a beacon to bring greater sanity, security and success into your world?